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September 07, 2016

Workers at Peeps factory in Pennsylvania go on strike

About 400 workers at the Pennsylvania candy factory which makes Peeps have gone on strike.

Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) Local 6 at Just Born Inc. in Bethlehem went out on strike after rejecting the company's last offer.

According to the union, Just Born proposed elimination of the workers' pension plan, substandard market wage increases and an increase in the share of health insurance costs for workers. The union said it offered a proposal modifying the health insurance plan that would have offered substantial savings to the company, but Just Born refused.

On Sept. 2, workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike "to maintain the benefits and standard of living they had earned over decades of service," said the union, represented workers at the plant since the 1950s.

Just Born is a family-owned company founded in 1923 in New York City. It moved to Bethlehem nine years later.

In addition to the marshmallow Peeps, Just Born makes Mike and Ike, Teenee Beanee jelly beans and Hot Tamales. In 2003 the company purchased the Goldenberg Candy Company and maintained production of its venerable Peanut Chews at its Northeast Philadelphia factory.

The chocolate grains sprinkled on ice cream, "Jimmies," were invented at Just Born, and named after the employee who made them, according to the company web site.